How Does Soap Kill Viruses?

A number of articles have appeared recently detailing how soap is more effective than hand sanitisers when outbreaks like COVID-19 occur. In this post I thought I'd decipher these scientifically written articles into a way I could better understand.

Key takeaways:

  • The oil in soap effectively dissolves the the weakest layer of the virus cell, killing it.
  • Antibacterial wipes and gels do not have this chemical reaction.
  • You cannot soak every part of your hands effectively enough with wipes and gels.
  • Check out our range of natural hand soaps today including antibacterial hand soap with tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender.

As the number of people affected with COVID-19 rises daily, panic buying has set in and many people have rushed to buy alcohol based hand sanitiser. What the latest articles are telling us however is that many of these are unnecessary or ineffective against COVID-19 and similar Coronaviruses.

Why does soap work so well on the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus?

It is because the virus is a nanoparticle and it's weakest link is it's fatty 'bilayer'. Soap effectively dissolves that fatty layer and the virus falls apart. But what about hand sanitiser? Why does soap do what antibacterial hand sanitisers can't?

Unlike hand sanitisers, hand soap contains fat-like substances which are very similar to the viruses fatty bilayer mentioned above. The chemical interaction between the similar fatty substances loosens the 'glue' between the virus and the skin and damages the organisms that hold the virus together. Essentially, after washing you hands for a good 15 seconds and rinsing, all these damaged virus organisms are simply washed away.

To get the equivalent effect with sanitisers, you would need to literally soak the virus in alcohol hand sanitiser. The reality is that this is just not feasible. Hand wipes and gels do not guarantee that  every corner of the skin on your hands is soaked effectively enough.

So whilst the shelves are empty of sanitiser, remember to choose soap when at home and only use alcohol-based sanitiser as a backup when soap and water are not accessible. 

Check out our range of natural hand soaps today including antibacterial hand soap with tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender.

Stay safe and look after each other. We will get through this together.

Maire and Greta


Information for this article was derived from a variety of sources including National Geographic Magazine, The N w York Times and The Guardian Newspaper.

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